Resolve South China Sea dispute through talks: Russia

Moscow, July 14 (IANS) The South China Sea dispute should be settled through consultations, Russia said on Thursday.

“We believe that the involved parties must hold relevant consultations and negotiations in the format determined by themselves,” Xinhua news agency quoted Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova as saying.

She said that Russia’s “consistent and invariable” stance is that relevant countries should not resort to force but continue pushing forward a political-diplomatic settlement on the basis of international laws, including the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

“We support efforts of China and member states of ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) towards working out a code of conduct in the South China Sea,” Zakharova said.

The spokeswoman meanwhile stressed that Russia in principle doesn’t take any sides, as the country is not an interested party and would not be dragged into the dispute.

“We highly value the role of the UNCLOS in ensuring supremacy of law in the Earth’s oceans. It is important to have the provisions of this universal international treaty applied consistently,” Zakharova added.

On Tuesday, the arbitral tribunal issued an award over a case unilaterally initiated by the former Philippine government, denying China’s long-standing historical rights over the South China Sea.

China had from the very beginning refused to participate in the proceedings, insisting that the tribunal has no jurisdiction over the case, which is in essence related to territorial sovereignty and maritime delimitation.

Chinese President Xi Jinping on Tuesday said China will not accept any proposition or action based on the award, and that China’s territorial sovereignty and maritime interests in the South China Sea will under no circumstances be affected by it.

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said on Thursday during a visit to Mongolia that the South China Sea issue should be solved through bilateral negotiations by relevant parties on the basis of historical facts and in accordance with international law and the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC).

–IANS

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